The World Health Organisation (WHO) Director General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, recently announced that COVID-19 is no longer considered a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). This declaration was made on Friday, following a review of the current evidence, which revealed high population-level immunity from the SARS-CoV-2 virus, improved knowledge and management of the virus, a decline in the global burden of COVID-19, and an increase in vaccine uptake.
Since this announcement, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) issued a statement on Sunday disclosing that Nigeria had already de-escalated its COVID-19 response since 2022, focusing on encouraging COVID-19 vaccination, and recommending the discretionary use of face masks and other public health safety measures according to personal risk assessments.
In addition, the NCDC plans to introduce wastewater/environmental surveillance to track not just SARS-CoV-2 but also antimicrobial resistance, Mpox, and typhoid (salmonella). This move is part of an integrated disease surveillance strategy aimed at encouraging routine COVID-19 testing along with other infectious diseases as may be indicated in healthcare settings as part of clinical care, for pandemic flu preparedness, as part of bi-directional testing during investigations for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, and in high-risk populations.
The WHO declaration brings to light the improved response and management of COVID-19 globally. It is a testament to the progress that has been made in managing the virus, and it serves as a reminder that everyone must continue to be vigilant and take necessary precautions to curb the spread of the virus.
With the above information, it is essential for individuals to prioritize their health by getting vaccinated, maintaining personal hygiene, and seeking medical attention if they experience symptoms of COVID-19. This way, we can all work together to curb the spread of the virus and ensure that it remains under control